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Papal nuncio: Church’s former doctrine head a ‘source of reassurance’ for Catholics

U.S. archbishop Thomas Gullickson praised Cardinal Gerhard Müller's recent collection of essays, saying Müller's work 'will confirm you in the faith as you know it.'
Thu Jan 9, 2020 - 5:49 pm EST
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Cardinal Gerhard Müller.

BERN, Switzerland, January 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. archbishop Thomas Gullickson praised Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s recent collection of essays, which include his Manifesto of Faith, as a “source of reassurance” that will confirm Catholics “in the faith as you know it and as it is still believed and taught.”

Archbishop Gullickson, 69, who is the papal nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, praised the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as a “good, solid” source for Catholics distressed by recent developments in the Church.

“Traveling to and from the States back at the end of November, I had time to read this collection of essays by His Eminence, with his Manifesto of Faith in appendix,” Gullickson wrote in his January 5 blog post.

“If you are at all distraught these days by the ambivalence communicated by some charged with the teaching office in the Church, I can guarantee this book of Cardinal Müller will be a source of reassurance for you,” he continued. 

“It will confirm you in the faith as you know it and as it is still believed and taught. My point would be simply that in Cardinal Müller we still have good, solid folk out there.”

Gullickson reminded his readers that the Church has always advised recourse to “approved authors” like the Fathers of the early Church, the Doctors of the Church, the saints, and also Catholics still alive today who faithfully hold to the doctrine of the Church. The archbishop offered this advice to counter heterodox material that has shaken the faith of the devout.

“The supports which they had found in recent years are often now called into question in the social media, especially as far as Catholic moral teaching goes and especially in the area of Christian anthropology,” he wrote.

“Too many Sunday homilies or too much stuff out there in the media which would pass itself off as Catholic, is anything but what it could or should be.”

Catholics should not judge a speaker’s or writer’s trustworthiness by his silver tongue or mellifluous phrasing, however. Gullickson quoted Cardinal Müller when underscoring that sanctity is more important than mere eloquence.

“This notion of truth, here in Cardinal Müller’s book referred to as “the power of truth," is indeed grounded in godliness, understood as that integrity of life which binds one to the Person of Jesus Christ,” he stated.

In a post from December 11, 2019, Gullickson praised the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), also known as the Extraordinary Form and the Mass of St. John XXIII, as source of fervent religious devotion.

“I would like to say that what the embrace of the tradition and of traditional liturgy has to offer ought ... to be classified, yes, as piety or true devotion,” the archbishop wrote.

“Apart from my own personal sense or experience of the profound rightness of worship according to the 1962 Missal, as I have experienced it as a bishop celebrating both solemn pontificals and the more restrained Missa Praelatitia, I wish to testify first and foremost to the devotion with which people assist at these Holy Masses.” 

What particularly impresses Gullickson about Catholics who attend the traditional form of the Mass is their manner of receiving Holy Communion: kneeling along an altar rail and receiving the Host from the hands of a priest on their tongue.

“Not only will I decry the hectic [nature] of Novus Ordo Communion processions by comparison with Communion at the altar rail, but in distributing Holy Communion I am witness to the extreme qualitative difference between Communion as traditionally given on the tongue and Communion in the hand,” the archbishop wrote.

“Let me put it this way: I have never but never been edified by a person who presents himself or herself for Communion in the hand.”

The papal nuncio even stated that he wishes he could always celebrate Mass according to the traditional form.

“The recovery of the Vetus Ordo with all its intricacies, its Latin, its silences, its absolute orientation is the most people appropriate way to inspire true devotion,” Gullickson wrote. “I just wish I could always celebrate that way.”

Moreover, “I would like to see in a reform or recovery or restoration, returning us to the solid ground of the Mass of All Times, that ineluctable and necessary seedbed for the proclamation of the Gospel from the rootedness of a life not so much hidden in Christ as immersed in Him.”

In 2016, Gullickson celebrated an important anniversary for one of the TLM’s most famous modern champions. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of British Catholic author Evelyn Waugh, the nuncio celebrated pontifical vespers at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in London in his memory. Most famous for his novel Brideshead Revisited, Waugh wrote letters and articles arguing for the preservation of the traditional form of the Mass from the years of the Second Vatican Council until his untimely death in 1966 at the age of 62.

Archbishop Gullickson was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1950 and ordained to the priesthood in 1976, at the age of 25. He studied canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome and joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service on May 1, 1985.

Gullickson was appointed the titular archbishop of Polymartium in 2004 and also named the apostolic nuncio to a number of Caribbean islands. In 2015, he was named the apostolic nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.


  catholic, communion in the hand, gerhard müller, latin mass, liturgy, manifesto of faith, papal nuncio, pope francis, thomas gullickson

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